French press review 6 October 2012
Today's French newspaper look at the recent death of two teenages near Grenoble; budget cuts to the cultural sector, and the 10 anniversary of the "White Night" in Paris.
To die for "behaving French". In the debate section of today’s Le Figaro, the columnist is analysing the reasons behind a recent murder of two teenagers in the Grenoble area by a gang from a different suburb.
She contends that the death of the boys, who were killed for “having a wrong look on their face” when they passed by a young resident of another suburb, is a result of regression into barbaric times which French society has been experiencing in the recent years.
These killings, as well as other recent cases of murder and violence, argues the author, were carried out because the victims “acted French”, in the words of their executioners.
Being French is to respect the rules defined by the state, to feel a part of French society. The columnist concludes with a call on the society to stand up against violence and the non-respect of the rules of French society.
“The woman whose case shocked the world”. This is the headline in the tabloid Aujourd’hui en France/Le Parisien, which dedicates its top section to an exclusive interview with the victim who suffered twice at the hands of Tunisia’s justice system.
A quick reminder of the story: a young woman and her boyfriend were arrested in a car after police found them in what they described as an “immoral position". She was then raped by two of the policemen while a third was trying to extort money from her boyfriend. She's now standing trial for “indecent behaviour”.
The paper says that the woman has become a symbol of “the identity crisis” Tunisia has been going through since the revolution. The reporter met the woman who now lives “like a fugitive”, avoiding the limelight.
“When I offered them 40 dinars to let me go, they raped me four times”, she told the journalist. After the rape, the couple decided to file a complaint. In a heartbreaking testimony, the woman described to the reporter the ordeal she and her boyfriend had to go through to be able to do that: the hospital which refused to examine her, a policeman who refused to register the complaint, one of the rapists who asked her to drop the case because “he was going to get married shortly”.
When the police finally accepted the complaint, the exhausted couple was manipulated into signing the “compromising position” clause. In Tunisia, says the young woman, a woman who has been raped is not considered as a victim, but rather she brings shame on her family. "She's like a woman who goes out in the evening – a prostitute”. The young lady tells the reporter that she is terrified by the prospect of being found guilty and going
to prison. But she is determined to see the trial through. “I want justice to prevail,” concludes the woman in this gripping interview.
Back to Le Figaro. The newspaper’s culture section looks at how French museums have coped with the austerity measures imposed by the new socialist government. The article says that the French Culture minister who admitted to having “realised the extent of the crisis” has announced budget cuts of up to 2.5 per cent for various museums, operas, castles and monuments.
Some museum directors have had to sacrifice creating new exhibitions. Others decided to fight the cuts. The President of Versailles museum announced that she
“will not let the Versailles chateau choke” and will do everything in her power to “avoid axing exhibitions and shows”.
To finish still with culture but on a slightly lighter note, both Libération and Aujourd’hui en France feature a special section on the 10th anniversary of the annual White Night -- or Nuit Blanche -- event in Paris.
Libération publishes an interview with the artistic director of the all-night event, which turns the city into an open museum. “I want to offer the visitors a magic moment which at the same time would highlight the beauty of the city”. To do that, this year Mr Le Bon, who is also the director of the Pompidou museum, decided to concentrate the events along the Seine river. 150 events at 120 venues will be happening on Saturday night, right by the Maison de la Radio!
The paper also says that 200 volunteer city employees will be dancing along the Seine river under the direction of a professional choreographer.